Motortrades Insight Magazine Online Subscribe About Us Contact Us Motortrades Insight - Motoring News, Articles & Interviews Home Finance Reviews Under The Hood Motorsport Business Profiles Archive Jobs I am looking for in Get your business listed Related Tags: heat pumps, under the hood, Car Dealers, viessmann, automotive heat pumps, car dealerships, energy efficiency Heat pump technology may be at a standstill, but more work is being done to integrate them with boilers, says Viessmann’s Hugh Jones By: Danny Hewitt Ref:A0879 Published: 18 December 2013

The basic principle behind how a heat pump works was laid out 161 years ago in 1852 Lord Kelvin in his second law of thermodynamics. And purely by accident, American inventor Robert C. Webber created what is believed to be the first ever heat pump in the late 1940s. 

Webber was experimenting with deep freezing equipment when he accidentally touched the outlet pipes of the cooling system. Little did he expect to burn his hand. This led him to the idea of the basic mechanics of a heat pump. 

Technology has progressed rapidly since then but how far can we take heat pumps to make the next generation more efficient than those available on the market today?

“It’s difficult to say,” explains Viessmann’s Technical Manager and heat pumps expert Hugh Jones. “Heat pumps are heat pumps. They’ve been around a long time. There is a lot of fine tuning to get better efficiencies. There’s nothing startling coming forward in the next few years but the biggest challenge we face is getting people to accept them and buy them. That includes persuading builders, installers and consultants that this is a way of saving money and a way of saving carbon emissions, and getting people to pay more for a heating system.”

Mr Jones says the challenge is to persuade people that they can make savings in the long-run, even though it will be more expensive initially than a conventional boiler system. 

But technology is not progressing in the world of heat pumps and it appears manufacturers are at a peak in terms of making them as efficient as possible.  

“Efficiencies are getting to the point where there’s not much to be gained,” he adds. “A lot of people are concentrating now on noise levels – trying to reduce the noise levels. That’s the next sort of performance factor.

He also cited that Viessmann is working on the next ongoing challenge, which is to integrate heat pumps with other heating systems, so they can work in harmony to be as efficient as possible. He calls it ‘system integration’ and it involves having systems that allow heat pumps to integrate with boilers and improved communication technology to allow people to access them more easily. That could include more app-based technology. “There’s a lot of work being done on that side of the field,” he says. 

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